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Full Name: Brian Bentley Graves
Rank Last Held: Lieutenant
Forename(s): Brian Bentley
Surname: Graves
War: World War II, 1939-1945
Serial No.: 1813
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 14 January 1918
Place of Birth: Wellington, New Zealand
First Known Rank: Gunner
Occupation before Enlistment: Clerk
Next of Kin: Mr H.I. Graves (father), 60 Aurora Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: 47 Stanley Avenue, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Military District: Palmerston North
Body on Embarkation: Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF), 1st Echelon
Embarkation Unit: 4 Field Regiment, 26 Field Battery
Nominal Roll Number: WW2 1
Page on Nominal Roll: WW2 69
Campaigns: Italy
Last Unit Served: New Zealand Artillery, 4 Field Regiment, 26 Battery
Place of Death: San Michele, south of Florence, Italy
Date of Death: 29 July 1944
Age at Death: 26
Year of Death: 1944
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Cemetery Name: Florence War Cemetery, Italy
Grave Reference: VII. C. 8.
Memorial Name: Memorial plaque, Karori Cemetery, Wellington
Biographical Notes:
  • Brian Graves was the son of Horace Ivatt Graves and Daisy Graves of Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Lieutenant Graves was killed on 29 July 1944 at San Michele, south of Florence. Graves was the newly-appointed commander of F Troop and was being taken by Major Carson forward to the OP when a shell struck the scout car and killed both Lieutenant Graves and Gunner I.H. Henry. (ref. 2nd Div. History, p. 623-4)
Description of Image:
  • Portrait, Weekly News
  • Headstone, Florence War Cemetery (photograph Gabrielle Fortune 2008).
  • Memorial plaque (bronze), Karori Cemetery, Wellington. (Photo P. Baker 2007)
Additional Information:
  • During July 1944 the New Zealand Artillery was part of the advance to Florence. After the fall of Rome troops rested by the Liri river, training and recreation taking up the days until 7 July when orders were received that the Division should concentrate near Lake Trasimene.
  • After the taking of Rome by the Allies in June 1944 the Germans fell back to the Gothic Line. They needed time to consolidate this line. For their part the Allies aimed to reach the Northern Apennines before this consolidation could take place. The result was that as the Fifth Army advanced along the coast and the Eighth Army advanced further inland they found stiff resistance as the Germans sought to slow down Allied progress. From 5 July the Allies encountered resolute resistance in defence of positions just south of a line Ancona-Arezzo-Leghorn and in particular on both sides of the Chiana valley. The Allied attack along this line began on 14/15 July. Within a week it had taken all the strong points of the German defences and had gained the ports of Ancona and Leghorn. The Americans reached the Arno on 4 August and on the 13 August the 8th Indian Division crossed the river and occupied Florence.
  • The first days of August saw the end of the campaign in central Italy. The next stage involved the Allied forces in the attack on the Gothic Line which the Germans had heavily fortified. The delaying tactics they had used at Lake Trasimene and near Arezzo had allowed time to complete this work.
Further References: Map on page 618 of Official History of 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery by W.E. Murphy shows the positions of the troops on 29 July
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